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Pseudolonewolf`s Avatar For the Beta Testers Wed 24th Jun 2009 12:57am

Category: Raider

I've uploaded the beta version of Raider: Episode 2. It's site-locked and you must be a beta tester to view it.

I'll be going through the comments on the previous news article regularly, and making anyone who qualifies and is interested into a beta tester. I won't announce who's been chosen and who hasn't though, but if you have been chosen, you'll notice a β mark beside your username on your profile.

If you are interested in being a beta tester but didn't read the other article yet, go and read and comment on that and I'll see if you're what I'm looking for.

For those of you who HAVE been chosen, you can find the beta here:

[LINK]

If you try to visit that link if you're not logged in or you aren't a beta tester, it won't work. Don't try anything funny to view the file if you haven't been chosen (you won't be able to anyway); just be patient. It'll be out in 'a few days', I hope.

Beta testers, please use this article to report your experiences, suggestions, opinions, etc.

If you're not a beta tester, don't comment here. I'll delete any comments from people who aren't beta testers.
120 comments

 

120 Commentson 120 roots

Wiz Zumwalt`s Avatar
Rating Orb Wiz Zumwalt 32 Hungary SanguineMelancholic 247C 40F
8 years ago | (0)
Oh, and you could split "Game Info" into "Game Info" and "Extras". This isn't a particularly brilliant idea, but I just can't come up with anything better (nor can anyone else, seemingly)...
Wiz Zumwalt`s Avatar
Rating Orb Wiz Zumwalt 32 Hungary SanguineMelancholic 247C 40F
8 years ago | (0)
Actually, now that it's been mentioned - there was one point when I too thought that with "jumping between overhanging spikes" introduced in episode 1 (and appearing in the room where the Golden Fig is hidden), it was becoming a little too repetitive in this episode.

At the same time, I've got an idea that I expected to appear in one of the rooms but didn't really (well, there IS one room that's sort of like what I'm thinking about - the one with the checkpoint before you reach the first blue switch early on(*) -, but not entirely). Most of the time, when you're supposed to jump between small platforms with spikes or lava below, no two neighbouring platforms have blades, so timing is like "wait for the right moment, do two jumps fast, then pause on the next platform for as long as you want". Instead, you could have some places where the platforms you're supposed to jump to ALL have blades, and therefore you have to get the rhythm of jumps right and keep going... In addition, this could then be combined with a point around halfway where you can pause on a vine (possibly in conjunction with a turret, so you can't just pause anywhere, anytime). This would be a new kind of challenge using only the elements you've introduced already, and I think it would fit the room of the Lingon Mask nicely.

(*) The beta page has been telling me "You are not logged in." consistently for over a day now, hence this vague description of the room in question instead of its identifier... I wonder if the beta testing time is now over? I would like to find the remaining two relics, but unless there's something to report about those specific rooms, I'll actually be fine doing that in the released version.
Sunkist`s Avatar
Rating Orb β Sunkist 23 Germany PhlegmaticSanguine 39C 14F
8 years ago | (0)
I'm back from vacation and now got to test the game a little more thoroughly. I hope it's not too late for my feedback to be considered. My first impression of the game was rather positive. The graphical redesign of the menu and the extended content set it apart from the first episode, in a good way. Until now I've completed the game twice on Beginner mode, the first one took about an hour, the second one 54 minutes. In the first run when I got to the boss I managed to lose all tries, so I had to respawn before the battle, twice. Clearly I'm not an experienced player when it comes to platformers and, honestly, Raider didn't convince that I should try this genre more often. However I still hope that my feedback can be of value, since the game is supposed to appeal to a more general audience as well.

Tutorial
Probably one of the most notable changes. I like the humorous dialogue, which makes it a lot more interesting to play through the tutorial. Those shift-ladder-jumps might really be one or two too many, but since anyone new to the game should really master this trick before starting to play (it's required on the very first level), the nuisance this might cause could be worth it.

Story
Well, not much happened and it is a rather stereotypical setup, but it works just as fine as it did in the first episode. The biggest plus is definitely the irony/humour in the dialogue, which is something like a 'trademark' for Fighunter games. I started to distrust Echelle and am wondering a bit why Arkus Zei doesn't care for more information. My guess is that after Arkus collects all those pieces, Echelle will use them to her advantage and she'll be the last boss. As you can see, the story still keeps my interest and that's probably all you can ask of a platformer.

I have two minor suggestions for the introductory sequence: The name of the alien race, Hindalarr, is not mentioned. Maybe you wanted to keep it simple, but I think the dialogue is simple enough, even if you include that tiny detail. And I was wondering whether somebody who's new to Raider would be able to understand what's going on. I read through the dialogue with that particular question in mind and am still unsure. I think you could add one sentence that makes the relationship between Echelle and Arkus a little more apparent, so you get the story even if you haven't read the 'Cast' page.

One more thing which is a little bit story-related concerning the middle part: I didn't get why there suddenly were ghosts and those other skeleton like thingies. When and why did he enter a haunted place? And why does this race live side by side with the deceased? But I guess that's one of those things you don't expect to make sense in a platformer. Still, maybe it'd be possible to put a sign somewhere that somehow explains to the player that he's now entering a dangerous place where there are ghosts and such. Or did I get it wrong in the first place and those new weird monsters are not really the Hindalarr but just some mindless animal like thingies?

Graphics
The pixelated font is a step in the right direction to give this game more of a 'retro' look. The new landscapes look nice and distinguish it nicely from the first episode. I could be wrong, since I don't pay too much attention to that sort of thing, but I had the feeling that this episode had more variety on the graphical side.

Music
I think you always do a great job when it comes to composing and I wasn't disappointed. The interplay of graphics and music does a good job to create that mystical, adventurous feeling. Definitely a thumbs up!

Difficulty
I never got stuck too badly. While the room where you get the 'Eye of Yalort' is rather easy to find, it's also the hardest bit I discovered to get through without being hit. It took me many tries just to get out of there alive and with 1 remaing HP I was shot on my way to the checkpoint on the moving platform. That was probably the most frustrating moment for me. The moving walls are a nice addition, but all felt rather doable even though they took quite some time to master. Again, I have a minor suggestion for the very beginning. The first obstacle is in my view already a rather hard one. Until now I haven't managed to overcome that giant enemy without a scratch. It might be rather frustrating for new players to already get hurt very badly after the first ten seconds of play. Otherwise I think the increase of difficulty throughout all levels is appropriate.

Boss
I haven't really figured this one out and as mentioned earlier managed to lose all my tries twice during my first run. So I don't think he's too easy. I appreciated the possibility to restart directly before the boss battle. If it hadn't been for that possibility, I probably would have given up and not beaten the boss at all.

Load & Save
Again, I appreciate the new possibility to save your progress. I used it during my first run. But I found it rather unfair that I wasn't ranked because of that. I understand that there needs to be a mechanism to prevent abuse of this feature, but I still don't like being punished preemptivly because there are some idiots out there who fiddle around with the save files. I hope you can figure out another way to prevent cheating. Maybe implement something like a 'checksum' in the save file. When a game is saved/loaded you could use a function that does some magic on all numbers you are saving/loading and spits out a number that you can additionally store in the file and use it to see if the file has been tempered with.

I have to stop writing now, but I still have some relativly unimportant issues and comments to other comments here, so I'll continue the post tomorrow and give a proper conclusion then.
DeNovo`s Avatar
Rating Orb E β DeNovo 24 United States MelancholicSanguine 244C 201F
8 years ago | (0)
Oh, and right--I apologize if you thought I was suggesting you cram in all the stuff I was talking about in this game. This is for your upcoming work. The only thing I came up with that would fit in this game is the timer thing, and if you don't want to I respect that. But I'm glad that you've decided on the benefits of variety in spite of the additional workload it'll give you.

Please don't bend over backwards trying to figure out how to improve Episode 2. It stands on its own, without any additional attempts to make the game easier or more forgiving. Make doing well in Episode 3 more fun.

Thanks again for believing I might be of help. I hope it did.
WillAlvein`s Avatar
Rating Orb β WillAlvein 23 Chile MelancholicPhlegmatic 46C 34F
8 years ago | (1)
I thought that was probably why you decided to keep them all in there... xD.

Anyway, the solution to that is rather simple, though I wouldn't blame you for just ignoring this and going on with whatever you had in mind... since it isn't too much of a problem anyway.
You could make it so that when you chose the "game info" option, then there are 2 options you have to chose, one would take you to the actually "game info" section, and the other to the "extras" section... Now, I can already see a problem with the design of this, which maybe isn't as bad as the previous too crowded one, or perhaps it's worse... that in order to get any sort of real information you'd have to enter at least 2 options.
Uh... other solution to this could be to change the layout of the more info section... which would require much more work to make it look "not-crowded"... menus in RPG games come to my mind.

You probably should just leave it as it is now, though, since apparently nobody else has complained about this... (I haven't really checked all the comments ;P)
DeNovo`s Avatar
Rating Orb E β DeNovo 24 United States MelancholicSanguine 244C 201F
8 years ago | (0)
Pseudo, I tried my best to make sure I wasn't being insulting or overly critical with the game; you should really look to the large number of positive reviews that other people give you to understand what kind of reception it'll get with the people who you're trying to make the game for.

Once upon a time, when I was a kid who wanted nothing more than to master a game (I played, I think, Disney's Aladdin on my SNES until I could do speed runs) I would've loved your game for everything it stood for. And I'm not saying there aren't merits to your design. Please don't take that opinion of your work, because the only reason I'm giving you as much feedback as I humanly can think of is because I want to help. I try my best to give reasonable feedback, phrasing things that I /feel/ instead of /believe/ and outlining things that I /think/ might be a better choice.

I never said to take my completely accept everything I've said, nor have I ever had any intention of telling you that this game is bad. While I understand that you weren't asking for conceptual changes, I remember that I offered not minor tweaks (everything I could possibly think of would probably be major in your eyes) but, much as you requested, how I felt about the game. I don't know about you, but when I get feedback on my work I actually ignore the vague praise, note the detailed praise, try to decode, the vague criticisms, and dig greedily into the detailed criticisms. Even if, say, some reviewer was totally wrong about everything and didn't appreciate the game, what was more important was what made them /feel/ that way about the game. So I was trying my best to explain to you why I felt like you had a beautiful platformer that was being held back from the sort of reception you were hoping for. I honestly feel like Raider deserves that sort of praise.

Raider 1 and 2 are fantastic games. They have sound art, music, and sound effects, and are proud, shining examples of how a flash game can be done right. They reveal careful thought on the part of the programmer, and a great deal of personality from the dialogue and scripting. The interface is slick, the controls are intuitive, and, let's face it, you get a LOT of stuff right. Vivid backgrounds, colorful locales, a story JUST generic enough to be relatable, but engaging, two forms of attack, constant and carefully crafted rooms, and a fully engrossing, if not addictive, tight platforming experience. You include a diverse set of challenges, everything animates beautifully, and you have to remember that I sank an hour beating the first Raider, simply because I could.

I found the game frustrating a few times, this is true. I had to put the game down because I knew that trying again wasn't going to get me past the next challenge. But I was laughing at the hardness of the levels, and grinning when I realized what ridiculous deathly weapon you'd added into the next room. And, if I had the time, I promise you I would spend the extra hour it would take for me to master the game, and love every minute of it. Dying can be a totally enjoyable experience. I completely agree that I'm not the kind of gamer who would be able to play through this game in one sitting, or even two or three, but I'd like to think I'm not the same person who will actually give up and blame the game for my deaths.

But what good would I be doing you, if I simply told you that it was a great game, extolled the parts I liked, and said I was looking forward to episode 3? (I am. Just so you know.)

See now, I think you should know me well enough now to realize that I'm not one for false flattery. I don't mean to hurt your feelings or tear apart your work. I think you have an /amazing/ game already--but I also know that you weren't happy with how Raider 1 turned out. This is pretty much the only reason I would knowingly give you honest, lengthy feedback; I'm fully aware of how you deal with criticism, and if it wasn't going to help you with the next episode there's no reason I would bother telling you how people might feel. I was worried you wouldn't like what I had to say about it, so I wasn't expecting to be chosen for beta at all. I'm honored that you value my input, and hope that you use my feedback as you best see fit.
Pseudolonewolf`s Avatar
Rating Orb A β Pseudolonewolf 23 United Kingdom MelancholicPhlegmatic 2257C 559F
8 years ago | (0)
Also, I rather want to finish these five episodes of Raider and get them out of the way, because once I have, I want to start a SEQUEL to them - which I planned from the beginning - which would be more like a platformer/RPG, similar to Raider Zero in that you'd have stats and levels and equipment and damage would be numerical and all that sort of stuff, except unlike in that, there'd be places full of NPCs where you'd go to get quests and further the plot... You'd fly (in your ship, as a minigame) to planets, with each world being a dungeon, of sorts, and it'd have elements very similar to THIS Raider but I'd try to make it a whole lot easier.

I want to start that... I won't though until the current series is done.
Pseudolonewolf`s Avatar
Rating Orb A β Pseudolonewolf 23 United Kingdom MelancholicPhlegmatic 2257C 559F
8 years ago | (0)
I was going to have a separate section for such Extras like Cast, Achievements, Music Player, etc, but mainly didn't because, uh... there was nowhere to PUT it...
Having just three buttons on the title screen looks nice, but shoving in another one would require assigning a key to it (which one? F?), and it wouldn't fit anyway... So I reluctantly just shoved them all in the Game Info bit (since technically they ARE all aspects of information about the game, in their own different ways)...

I think difficulty may be largely subjective, since I only found a few bits of this level hard... But it's difficult for me, who MADE the game, to actually know how hard the levels would be for a new player, especially since I plan the solutions to the rooms and then play them countless times...
Apparently when designing maps though, I find it difficult to make them really simple because it seems like such a WASTE to not use the space to put in more obstacles... o_O

Hmm... Can't think of much else to say in response to the comments...
Oh, other than that I don't like changing the timer to be more forgiving. I really like it how it is. It seems incredibly *wrong* somehow for one player to be able to say "I didn't die once and I am proud that I got a time of 11 minutes!" and another to say "I died 300 times and got a time of 9 minutes"...

And I'm going to be putting more effort into different puzzles in later episodes, annoying as it is to think up and code them.
Pseudolonewolf`s Avatar
Rating Orb A β Pseudolonewolf 23 United Kingdom MelancholicPhlegmatic 2257C 559F
8 years ago | (0)
I started writing some long, rambly rantish thing in response here last night, but I never finished since it was bordering on incoherent and I lost track of myself...

But anyway, I'll summarise what I was going to get at.

This game isn't for everyone, and no game is for everyone. It seems you're not a big fan of the genre to begin with, DeNovo - I get that impression because if you were, you might have performed better at the game and liked it for what it was rather than saying you'd prefer it as something different - so from the offset, you probably had no enthusiasm about the game... or something?
I was going to use the example of a person who loves RPGs lending his friend a copy of Final Fantasy VII, but his friend prefers FPSeses and doesn't much care for RPGs. He'd play it, and he might well not hate it and might get to the end, after a lot longer than the regular RPG player, probably, but it's likely that his feedback would be something like "well, it was okay, I suppose, but the battles were really slow and repetitive. All you did was choose from menus, and it was stupid how you couldn't move around so it was like there was no skill involved. All the battles felt the same. Also, there was way too much talking. Why couldn't it be more like Zelda? That's how you make an RPG."
He has such criticisms because he doesn't prefer that TYPE of game to begin with, and the examples of RPGs he had played and liked - in this case, Zelda - were preferred because they came closer to his favourite genre anyway.
I do not think that Final Fantasy is a poorly-made game because these sorts of people don't like it.

Similarly, there are people who would be excited about Raider, and those who would merely play it because it is there, either on this site because I made it so they feel obliged to play it, or because they come across it somewhere on a Flash site...
I feel that I should make the game as good as it can be for those who'd like its concept to begin with, rather than trying to alter it for more casual players of any game they come across...
Though I've been making it gradually more forgiving anyway...

That said, it's also hard work making new obstacles.
I'm reminded of some feedback I got on MARDEK 2, ages ago, which basically gave me a low score because it didn't have enough different detail-based things (skills, etc) and some other features he'd prefer in RPGs...
This really irritated me because, well, I MADE THE WHOLE GAME. I need to focus on every aspect of any game I make, including the graphics, music, coding, skills, challenges, plot, etc. It's a hard job, and I tend to neglect some areas just because it's hard to get everything perfect.
Most good Flash games usually have a team of at least two people working on them, so that they divide up things to focus on and as such can pay more attention to the bits that they have assigned to them...
I, on the other hand, can't help but feeling that people are 'ungrateful' that I added as much as I already DID and instead would think "it's not good because there's not MORE"...

Anyway, as Anonymous Guest rightfully says there, there are new obstacles in episode 3, and also, episode 1 and 2 were made 'at the same time' before I added other types of obstacles. I added more in episode 3 - like ice, disappearing blocks, water, timer switches, different enemies, etc - because I felt that the first two levels didn't have enough variety. But it is really hard to go back to them and change them at this point; you need to design the level with such things in mind instead of forcing them in afterwards.
Also, since the game will be five episodes, it's better to focus on only a few skills for each one, rather than using up all possibilities as early as episode 2.

Anyway, ideas that may seem trivial to think up aren't nearly so trivial to code or draw... For example, that about *spiderwebs* there... Which would take more effort for me: adding a skull tile on walls, or making some kind of obstacle which you get trapped in and need to repeatedly jump as fast as possible to get out of, likely with separate animations for Arkus and the web?
Raider was originally meant as a 'quick project' as relief from all my other gargantuan undertakings, and I distinctly meant to NOT try to add loads of more little features all the time and just make a game 'of broad strokes' or something, since adding new little features is what makes my other games take forever or never get released.
I've described it as 'simple, and lacking in unnecessary frilly gimmicky features' before, I think.

Anyway, I think that you, DeNovo, may perhaps have been one of the people who has the attitude that I specifically said I didn't want in testers... I chose you anyway because I knew you'd at least give a lot of feedback and you're definitely not an idiot, but something tells me that you'd have been very critical about the whole concept no matter what the game was like... Maybe I'm wrong, but that's the impression that I get, anyway.
What your criticism has mainly achieved is making me ashamed, embarrassed and unenthusiastic about this game now, and I'll likely look at it in a completely different - negative - light in future...
I will... take heed of what you mentioned, but changes of concept or vast additions are not really possible at this point in development.

As for the rest of you people that said things here, I thank you for doing so... I'll read over all the comments again and comment again myself if I have anything to say.

(Hmm... This turned out just as rambly and rantish as the one I didn't post yesterday... o_O)
DeNovo`s Avatar
Rating Orb E β DeNovo 24 United States MelancholicSanguine 244C 201F
8 years ago | (0)
To give Pseudo some credit, I'm going to list the things I remember to be new features in this game. I think it's great to know that the next episode is already moving away from them "vines, spikes, and tiny platforms" formula, and I think what changes he made here should be discussed individually.

1. The giant walls that kill you on contact. They're usually used sparingly in platformers for the obvious reasons of being very very stressful on the player and more or less arbitrary enforcement of speed. It's only a little more forgiving than, say, kililng Arkus if he's not in room 2_9 by 2:00. (The common "get out before the place goes down!" Metroid motif)

2. Lava. I heard that spikes were one-hit kills on harder difficulties already, so this isn't so much a new feature as it is a new use of an old feature. I'm not sure placing it so generously in the level is warranted, either, because all it does is force the player to start over from farther away if they mess up. It would definitely have its place, say, if Arkus was in a volcano, for thematic value, but in general I don't think platformers aspire to make the player perpetually one mistake away from death.

3. Multiple path-exploration. The room with four blocks and four doors made me smile a little. I liked that you gave the player the freedom to pick their poison, and definitely felt that being able to try another room if one was getting frustrating was a bit of a relief. You could do well to give the player more path options more often. This was a good change.

4. Big lunking monsters. I'm not really sure what to say about these guys. All they were was big. You used them as giant moving obstacles on timing-based chases, and placed them in places where basically it was clear that you were trying to injure the player as they progressed. They seemed a lot more like glorified moving spikes to me. Maybe more interesting monsters would liven up the platforming a bit?

5. The "danger below" skulls. This was a neat trick, and a very helpful one at that, though I'm not really sure putting danger outside of the player's view like that is a good idea to start with. Giving players a surprise is usually a good thing, but when that surprise comes with health loss it ends up being more of a "ACK! WTF!?" moment than a "wow didnt' see that coming!" moment. If instead of spikes you had, say, spiderwebs which trapped Arkus and forced the player to hit jump repeatedly to break free, I think the player would find the notion of forewarning a charming idea. Incidentally, that room where death is at every corner and the pillars spell lava doom has a lot of misleading skulls; I would strongly advise making it so that the first skull does NOT in fact identify a safe spot (and instead the two spaces to the left and right were skulls instead). I died there several times because I couldn't figure out where to land and didn't react fast enough to catch onto a pillar.

6. Giant stabby swords. This was a cute addition. Disregarding the fact that they appeared in enough rooms to be more boring than anything else, they definitely changed up the formula, because in a sense they're time-sensitive platforms, which was something you didn't used to have. While I don't know that you want the result of the time running out to be a giant sword splitting Arkus in two, I can definitely see platforms that, say, drop Arkus back down onto the ground or spring him into the air, Sonic style, when the time limit goes off.

7. New boss behavior. I'm not sure if the last boss did this but those giant pillars of sweeping fire were exactly the kind of boss behavior I was talking about. The player can see it coming (getting hit by it at most once, really), knows exactly how to avoid it, and can spend the time avoiding it figuring out how to retaliate. It's unfortunate, but players like having the upper hand, even if it means crippling the boss intentionally.

Since I'm not hardcore enough to get achievements, I'm not sure if they were in the first game, but it'd be cool if you notified the player that they've unlocked the achievement in game instead of forcing them to wait until they've beaten the boss.

So... yeah. I think over all the changes definitely helped keep me interested, but the game also seemed a lot longer, which may be my imagination. I felt like there were more rooms, and only 10 or so base mechanics to work with.
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